Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Governor Henry Seriake Dickson led political camp (aka Restoration Team) over the weekend defeated the campaign organisation of Chief Timi Alaibe and other aspirants in the just concluded People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Ward Delegate Congress ahead the September 3 governorship primaries in the state.
But Alaibe has protested the result, citing irregularities and what he called the “unilateral inclusion of certain names contrary to the PDP constitution and guidelines for the conduct of a peaceful” election.
According to reports from the 105 wards across the state, the Restoration Group reinforced its dominance of the politics of the PDP and the state by registering an intimidating haul of Team victorious in the congress.
A leader of the party, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the outcome of the ward delegate congress and the massive presence displayed by the Restoration Team only demonstrated that Governor Dickson has total control of the politics of the PDP and even Bayelsa.
He said members of the Governor Dave Umahi-led panel which visited Bayelsa to conduct the congress were shocked that aspirants outside Dickson’s political camp like Alaibe could not muster any presence to engage the Restoration Team in a contest at the ward and local government levels.
The source said: “The routing of Alaibe and other aspirants was such that they did not even have people to engage their major opponents. In fact, there is no other tendency in Bayelsa that has the capacity to engage the Restoration Team in a contest at the ward, local government and state levels. They didn’t have people in every ward to stand up for them. It was a resounding victory for the Restoration Team all the way, and that shocked everybody contrary to the brazen propaganda and attempt to create the wrong impression. Panel members and observers were shocked that when the time for the confrontation came, they were nowhere to be found.”
The party chieftain said that the panelists and party leaders were shocked that Alaibe and his team could not present more than the same set of defected APC politicians who Governor Dickson and the Restoration Team defeated alongside the Chief Timipre Sylva led APC in the hotly contested gubernatorial election of 2015.
Meanwhile, Alaibe has appealed for calm from his supporters, assuring them that issues “arising from the list of returning and electoral officials for the ad-hoc delegate elections are being addressed by the party leadership at the national level.”
Alaibe expressed sadness that “the method that is making the primary in Kogi State a smooth and rancour-free exercise is being thwarted in Bayelsa State for very narrow and selfish reasons.
“They have failed this time around because no degree of intrigues, no amount of manipulation and propaganda can push me out of this race. Nothing will change my decision to lift the lot of our people through purposeful leadership. I am here to stay and together we will win” he declared.
Meanwhile the national leadership has sent an appeal panel to look at the petitions arising from the ward congress. Aside from Alaibe, some other aspirants not from the Dickson political camp have also sent in petitions demanding cancellation of ward congresses due to irregularities.